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Los Angeles FC and Tigres for their first Concacaf Champions League title

Los Angeles FC and Tigres for their first Concacaf Champions League title

With their gunboats Gignac and Vela at the helm, Tigres and Los Angeles FC will play the final of the Concacaf Champions League this Tuesday in the hope of claiming their first title of the competition and a ticket to the FIFA Club World Cup.

In this edition, the final will be resolved to a single match at the Explora Stadium in Orlando (Florida), the setting chosen by the Concacaf (North American, Central American and Caribbean Football Confederation) to conclude its main club tournament under the protection of the coronavirus pandemic.

For Tigres, the so-called ‘Concachampions’ is their great pending issue after having fallen in three finals, the last of them last year against their neighbor and great rival, Rayados de Monterrey.

“We know what we are playing for,” said Jesús Dueñas, the felines’ midfielder. “It has escaped us in past editions, we have lost three finals and we have finished twice in the quarterfinals.”

Coach Ricardo ‘Tuca’ Ferretti is also looking forward to lifting his first continental trophy with Tigres, whom he has guided for a triumphant decade with five Mexican league titles.

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The Monterrey team also has the responsibility of maintaining the hegemony of their country over the Concacaf Champions League, which has always had a Mexican winner since it adopted this name in 2008.

For this, he will once again count on the French André-Pierre Gignac, one of the most feared forwards in continental football, who has just scored two penalty goals in the 3-0 triumph in the semifinals against Honduran Olimpia.

– Vela vs Gignac, gunners duel –
Gignac, who has been punishing rival networks in Mexican soccer for five seasons, will face one of the best strikers in the history of that country, Carlos Vela, with whom he is tied at the top of the tournament’s scorers table with five goals .

The 31-year-old ‘Bomber’ is the emblem of Los Angeles FC (LAFC) since its debut in the North American Soccer League (MLS) in 2018 and on Saturday he led it to the first final of its young history.

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With a withering double, Vela turned the 1-0 lead that America had in the grueling semifinal clash, which ended 3-1 for the Angelenos.

Vela has had a discreet campaign in the MLS, after being the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of 2019, but in the ‘Concachampions’ he was the executioner of two other Mexican teams, scoring a double for León in the second round and another target for Cruz Azul in rooms.

“It’s special for him to play these games,” coach Bob Bradley said of his star. It means a lot to him. It is a special kind of leadership that he then demonstrates in the field.

The LAFC coach, the fourth MLS franchise to reach the Champions League final, believes his team is ready for the trophy to stay in the United States for the first time.

“I am very proud of my players,” said Bradley. “We had to develop this mentality. Sometimes you have to suffer a little and we have. So being in a final is really special.

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The winner of the tournament, who had been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, will get the regional ticket for the next FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar in 2021.

The clash will start on Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. local time (03:00 GMT on Wednesday) at the Explora Stadium in Orlando, where spectators will not be allowed access due to the pandemic.

Possible teams:

Tigers: Nahuel Guzmán – Luis Rodríguez, Hugo Ayala, Carlos Salcedo, Jesús Dueñas – Luis Quiñones, Guido Pizarro, Rafael Carioca, Javier Aquino – Leonardo Fernández and André-Pierre Gignac. DT: Ricardo Ferretti

Los Angeles FC: Kenneth Vermeer – Tristan Blackmon, Jesús David Murillo, Eddie Segura, Diego Palacios – José Cifuentes, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Eduard Atuesta – Carlos Vela, Danny Musovski and Diego Rossi. DT: Bob Bradley. AFP (HN).

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